Brain controlled robot wheelchair!

Last week I had the opportunity to work with a couple of awesome projects that combined to be even more awesome: I drove a powered wheelchair simply by using my brain!

Here are a couple more, longer videos:


I was wearing an Emotiv EEG headset that Steve Castellotti of Puzzlebox has configured to work with Lego Brainstorms robots (this is a pretty cool project in itself, check it out at Puzzlebox's site).  He has a program that allows the headset wearer to input arbitrary keypresses on the linked computer, configurable to the output from the headset.  The wheelchair robot is a work in process from Instructabler jerkey, who has hacked into the joystick controls to allow it to be driven using keypresses on ITS associated computer.  So it was relatively simple to log into the robot driver computer from the headset computer and send keypresses.

Now, there is a bit more to say about the keypress creation.  The goal with an EEG headset is to get brain signals, but facial muscle movements are also detectable (they use electricity too and it turns out that the muscle signals are a lot stronger than the brain signals, for various reasons).  For myself, I found it very difficult to repeatably emit consistent brain waves, with only an hour or so of training.  It was a lot easier to get the software to detect a blink, wink, or grimace, so that's what I ended up using.  Still, I could not drive the robot very accurately, causing great hilarity amongst the observers.  More work is needed!  But it was an awesome and fascinating experience and I highly recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity.

I've asked the two project builders to collaborate on an Instructable.  If this happens I will update this forum post with the link.

kelseymh6 years ago
Yowza. It was only a matter of (short!) time before somebody connected the existing game-playing EEG sensors to a proper joystick control. Given the devices involved, this is much less expensive than the current research-level stuff being developed, which means it's also more likely to be usable by those who might want it for more than just the cool factor.
Kiteman6 years ago